My work at Fifa won't go unrecognised: Blatter

Outgoing Fifa president Sepp Blatter (centre), posing with players and holding the trophy for the Sepp Blatter Tournament, in Ulrichen, his hometown, last Saturday.
Outgoing Fifa president Sepp Blatter (centre), posing with players and holding the trophy for the Sepp Blatter Tournament, in Ulrichen, his hometown, last Saturday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ZURICH • Outgoing Fifa president Sepp Blatter believes his critics will realise they have been wrong and will acknowledge his achievements once he has left football's world governing body.

In an interview with the BBC, the 79-year-old Swiss defended his record as the head of scandal-plagued Fifa and said he was respected in many parts of the world.

He noted he was often subjected to hostile treatment on social media but said: "Go to the world, go to Asia, go to Africa... go to China, ask them what they think about Fifa and Blatter, that's different.

"At least (I am) respected because I have done a lot. Not only me but Fifa has done a lot and I have served this Fifa. I am sure this will be recognised, the big job that has been done by Fifa and by myself... (over) 40 years."

"I am sure people are realising that the job I have done in Fifa is a good job, it's the right job for the development of football, the right job for education of youth," added the man elected Fifa president in 1998.

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Not only me but Fifa has done a lot and I have served this Fifa. I am sure this will be recognised, the big job that has been done by Fifa and by myself... (over) 40 years.

SEPP BLATTER

"If there are people who don't like the organisation or don't like me, they will realise they have been wrong... they will realise that."

Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term on May 29 but, four days later, announced he would lay down his mandate as Fifa was engulfed in the worst crisis in its 111-year history.

It was thrown into turmoil when 14 sports marketing executives and football officials, including several from Fifa, were indicted in the United States in late May.

The bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges involved more than US$150 million (S$213 million) in payments.

Seven of those accused were arrested by Swiss police in a dawn raid on a luxurious Zurich hotel two days before the Fifa Congress where Blatter was re-elected.

His replacement is due to be elected at an extraordinary Congress to be held on Feb 26.

Blatter, often looking uncomfortable during the 20-minute interview at Fifa headquarters, reiterated that it was individuals rather than Fifa who were under investigation.

"The institution is not corrupt... there is no corruption in football, there is corruption with individuals," he said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2015, with the headline 'My work at Fifa won't go unrecognised: Blatter'. Print Edition | Subscribe